April 20, 1914
Four down at Middlesbrough.
With all their thoughts and aspirations turned towards Crystal Palace, it was scarcely to be expected that Liverpool would strain themselves unduly in their League encounter with Middlesbrough on Saturday. As a matter of fact, however, they put up a fair fight against the Ayresome Park contingent, and it was only in the closing stages that the north-eastern club emphasised their superiority.
The weather was all against robust football. The heat was intense, and play might have been impracticable but for the stiffish breeze that prevailed. The ground, too, was so hard backed that many of the players at the close of the game felt the tiring effect of playing upon a dusty, unyielding surface.
The general character of the game may be best described as scrappy. The Middlesbrough forwards, who showed both speed and determination, almost monopolised the attack, but their finishing touches were woefully erratic. Flying shots from long range went frequently well over the bar or wide of the target, while the shots that did come to hand were admirably handled by Elisha Scott. The latter was deputising for Kenneth Campbell, who is suffering from a slight attack of lumbago, and he proved himself a very able substitute for the brilliant young Caledonian. The shots which did beat him were all difficult ones, and it is no reflection upon Scott’s capability that he should have been beaten on four occasions.
Middlesbrough, playing with the wind in their favour, made merry play at the outset, and it was early seen that they intended to capture full points if given the slightest opportunity. This was rather long in coming, though Fred Kirby, a sturdy, well-built amateur, led the forward line with dour pertinacity. He himself shot upon at least half-a-dozen occasions without success, and then he had the satisfaction of being concerned in a movement which permitted Stewart Davidson to net the ball after the game had been going less than half-an-hour. Truth to tell, from this point to the interval Liverpool were rarely in the picture, though Tom Miller and Jimmy Nicholl once came from within approachable distance of equalising.
The second period was considerable faster than the first, and for some time Liverpool enjoyed quite as much of the play as their opponents. They fell away, however, in the later stages, and Walter Tinsley, thanks to a pass from the centre, scored a clever goal. A ding-dong interlude followed in which Tim Williamson was kept busy, but the Anfield fire was unsteady and inaccurate. So the game went on until within ten minutes of the close, when Tinsley had the satisfaction of adding two more goals as the result of combined forward work.
Allusion has been made to the capital keeping of young Scott, and it is pleasant to emphasise the fact that Liverpool possess such a strong second string to their bow. Both the backs played fine football, and indeed, Robert Pursell seemed at times to take unnecessary risks. The halves were all good, and it is reassuring to know that the injury to Harry Lowe which caused him to leave the field is not of a serious character. The Liverpool captain jarred his knee, but is not likely to suffer any ill-effects. The forwards were scarcely up to concert pitch, though Nicholl and Arthur Metcalf were occasionally prominent.
(Liverpool Daily Post: April 20, 1914)